Twins Reportedly Finalists for Zack Wheeler… and There is No Excuse For Screwing This Up Again

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Via Ken Rosenthal – The Athletic (12/3/2019):

Oh, to be free-agent right-hander Zack Wheeler.

His stuff is elite. His career innings total is low. His recent durability is encouraging.

Any day now, he will be a $100 million man.

Wheeler, 29, has received at least one $100 million offer and will land a five-year deal in excess of that amount, according to major-league sources.

The White Sox, Twins, Reds, Rangers and Blue Jays are among the clubs pursuing Wheeler….

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Wow, it’s nice to see you all again. I feel like we’ve all been here a lot over the past couple Minnesota Twins seasons, and parts of 3 offseasons:

“Twins One of __ Teams in on Top Free Agent Pitcher, ______ _______”

But… none of these stories that we keep seeing (I keep writing) ever leads to a new headline that goes more like:

“Twins Ink Massive Deal with Top Free Agent Pitcher, _______ ________, Immediately Making Them Serious World Series Contenders”

Nope, apparently Twins’ fans are able to talk and dream about nice things now, unlike days of our past, but we still haven’t been able to have any of those nice things. We’ve been relegated to window shopping… like an evil mother, who takes her 10 year old son to Best Buy every year but won’t actually pay the price for that XBox he desperately needs…

Every single year, you get into the car and she says, “Are you excited, Eric?”… Well at some point, when do you stop getting excited?

Like, “I’d love to get excited, Mother, but I’m worried you’ll refuse to pay the $300 it costs to get the XBox once we arrive at Best Buy, just like you did last year, and the year before. You’ll only offer $250 and then blame it on them and ‘The Market’, because you were ‘right there’, around the price point they would accept”…

cont….. “YOU KNOW WHAT THE FUCKING COST IS OF THESE XBOXES, MOM, WHY DON’T YOU JUST GO TO THE STORE WITH THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF MONEY OR I DON’T EVEN WANT TO GO AT ALL. THEY AREN’T GOING TO CUT YOU A DEAL WHEN OTHER PARENTS ARE WILLING TO PAY FULL PRICE. THAT WOULD BE FUCKING DUMB. YOU ARE THE RICHEST MOM IN THE ENTIRE NIEGHBORHOOD. IT IS EMBARRASSING THAT YOU GO TO THE STORE AND NEGOTIATE WITH BEST BUY WHEN THEY, AND EVERYONE ELSE WATCHING, KNOWS YOU ARE THE RICHEST MOM IN TOWN, TOO….”

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via GIPHY

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I don’t care if we have to pay a little bit more money than the others, to make sure Wheeler gets here. Take it out of his World Series ring down the road. It is so stupid that you would walk away because of pennies on the dollar, of the $100M+ you are already offering. Let’s get real. Don’t be stupid. If you aren’t going to get Strasburg or Cole then you need to get Wheeler. There are no excuses for not landing him. Apparently, Rocco Baldelli has the greatest clubhouse in the history of professional sporting clubhouses. The weather in the summer is beautiful. Offer a little extra and seal the fucking deal.

The Minnesota Twins spent $125,256,003 on payroll for players in 2019. That was good for 18th in the league, according to Spotrac.com.¬†After that below-league-average team payroll brought ownership and the front office 100+ wins, a Central Division Title, an ALL-TIME MLB Home Run record, and another loss to the Yankees in the Divisional Series of the playoffs, there is only one logical thing to do… improve the starting pitching. Everyone knows that’s your weak spot, and you’ve admitted it yourself.

Well if you are the Pohlads or the Twins front office, you’ve put yourself in a beautiful position to reward your great season with the perfect pitcher(s) to fill your void at the top of the pitching staff. That’s right, your cap-saavy front office and new analytics-driven EVERYTHING has put your franchise in a great spot to cash in. That $125 Million you spent last year had the bottom fall out of it… and is now sitting at just $81.7M… but you didn’t really lose anyone crucial to your future, or 2020 endeavor.. (see graphics at the bottom of this blog for the projected roster breakdown) You still have most of those bombas (outside of CJ Cron, who just entered free agency yesterday) in your clubhouse and your bullpen looks, well, a lot better than expected; with a lot of young, lively arms, ready to make names for themselves.

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So, with your only REAL need being high-end starting pitching, you have a butt-ton of money to spend in order to make that happen. Remember, we mentioned above; you need to reward your fanbase and players, after an epic season and a bunch of money put into your pocket, by spending MORE this year than you did last year. Well, if you pay Wheeler $100M over 5 years like Ken says he’s getting, my Little Falls, MN math thells me that’s $20M/year… putting our new total just barely over $100M, still ~$25M less than what you spent in 2019.

So, paying Wheeler $20M/yr would put this season’s team payroll at about $101M. So there is still room to wiggle. What about after that? As you can see from the graphic above, the Twins currently have just $10M committed to players after 2020. Again, there are no excuses for fucking this pitching free agency season up…

The only question in all of this should be…. when do we sign Strasburg to go next to Wheeler, since we have all of that extra cash still leftover? Because, if this team goes into the 2020 season with LESS cash spent on the payroll, than they had last year…. I’m bringing a bag of wrenches to Target Field later this offseason and we are having a dodgeball training session. There’s nowhere else to spend that money, than on the starting pitching. It would literally be confounding if they don’t pull in SERIOUS pitching help this season. Money isn’t even an argument this year… if you ever think it was.

That would be ABSOLUTELY unnacceptable. The players and fans would see right through that shit.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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